Wake Forest University Space Utilization Study 

Wake Forest University Utilization Plan North Carolina Higher Education Campus Strategy

A thorough analysis of Wake Forest University’s physical assets helps leadership prioritize its capital investment, optimize its current space, and lays the foundation for the shift to a more integrated institutional planning model. 


Wake Forest University


Winston-Salem, North Carolina


Campus Strategy & Analytics, Higher Education

Navigating through the turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wake Forest University embarked on a broad strategic effort to reassess its campus space needs to best position the University for the future. Wake Forest’s leadership team turned to SmithGroup to conduct a detailed space utilization study of its main campus as well as several peripheral properties to inform its developing campus space strategy.  


Wake Forest Utilization Study

SmithGroup’s Space Utilization Study supplied the quantitative data needed for effective decision making, as well as providing a new perspective for University leadership. The study challenged some perceived space needs, brought in a number of new voices through campus engagement efforts, and clarified the value of greater transparency and campus-wide collaboration in planning.

Wake Forest Utilization Study

Recommendations from the study include solving short-term needs for more faculty offices by repurposing a surplus of classroom space and transforming an unused property at the edge of campus into a much-needed administrative hub with amenities that will assist in employee recruitment and retention. The University is also exploring some broader recommendations outlined in the study in its strategic framework development process, including ideas for a second academic hub on campus to de-densify academic spaces on its main quad. 


Most importantly, the University took to heart the need to make changes to how it analyzes and implements space needs going forward. It established a University Space Planning Group that uses an integrated planning process as its guiding principle for space planning.


Wake Forest Utilization Study Higher Education

Outcomes of the study informed the University’s decision in February 2023 to launch a campus space strategy development project to develop a holistic, well-sequenced, and long-term plan to renew its academic core buildings. By tying analytics to strategy, Wake Forest University is better prepared to make decisions and process improvement changes that will best serve its students and support its academic mission.